When it comes to talking to any potential commercial client about why they should consider using PR, it always comes that moment where they ask me the same ‘$64,000’ question – how will this bring me new business?
It’s a very fair question and one which you deserve a good answer to before committing marketing budget to it. The Public relations profession has been working on coming up with more scientific answers to and verification of it since creating and adopting the Stockholm Accords and Barcelona Principles for measuring effectiveness in 2010.
Here are the key sales benefits you should expect from a well-planned and executed PR campaign:
Increase brand awareness
The most obvious reason for doing media relations is to get greater awareness of your company brand among your target audiences.
Established mainstream media reach many more people than you can typically reach on your own free doing something like posting on social media, unless you already have a huge following.
For example, publishing audience research body PAMCO found that in April 2019 to March 2020 The Scotsman website had a ‘Total Brand Reach’ over a month of 5,654,000 people.
So if you’re mentioned on there and even only 1% of those people are potential customers of yours, that’s 56,540 potential customers read about you, some of whom will be new to your brand.
Boosts your reputation & trust
Once people know about you, the next thing they ask themselves is do they trust you enough to trade with you. A third-party endorsement from someone they trust is a powerful way to build trust – why customer reviews or testimonials are marketing gold.
The other big reason for doing media relations is that by choosing to write something positive about your company, media are effectively giving you a third-party endorsement from a source their readers, viewers and listeners trust.
This way media coverage is an excellent conversation starter with potential new customers and a way to get your ‘foot in the door’ of the minds of your prospects.
According to a Nielsen study, PR is 90% more effective than advertising in influencing consumers. That’s partly because a favourable mention of your brand, which has been earned and not paid for, holds much more weight than an ad – you making claims about yourself. This is why PR professionals refer to it as ‘Earned Media’ – part of the PESO Model of channels.
The other, more important, way of boosting your reputation and building the trust necessary to get new sales is through positive actions which build your reputation with your key audiences. These can range from community support initiatives to announcing your brand’s support for a campaign which is close to the hearts of your key audiences.
Generates Interest, Desire and Action
Depending on the PR activity being done and the messaging involved in it, for example if it’s media relations for a new product or service, PR can generate interest and desire for it as well as action to get it.
For example, the media relations I did for my client Angus Solutions Group in January this year announcing a grant from Scottish Enterprise for its growth plan generated a 535% increase in traffic to its website and a combination of new and renewed requests for quotes – both measured as business outcomes of PR in the Barcelona Principles.
Boosts your SEO
Media and other forms of stakeholder relations will hopefully create links to your website from other website domains with ‘high authority’ – though it’s not guaranteed. Google and other search engines see that as a sign that your site has good content and so boost your site’s Page Rank for that topic accordingly. That means your page has a better chance of coming up on page 1, and closer to its top, when people search for your kind of business. This is why much of ‘Digital PR’ is about getting links from high-domain sites to the client’s one.
Creates long-lasting relationships
One of the many benefits of using PR on a long-term consistent basis is that by constantly repeating your key messages and actions to ‘walk the talk’ you build long-lasting relationships with your key audiences and other stakeholders in a way that a one-off story, advert or post can’t. That way, PR will benefit you more than once.
Enjoys a ‘Snowball effect’
You can also enjoy a ‘Snowball effect’ from getting media coverage in that one or more positive stories may be picked up by another media organisation later in relation to a similar story. Any business benefits from the first should be seen in later coverage too, depending on the outlet and how relevant its audience is to your target groups.
Talks to your key stakeholders
PR is about conversations with your key stakeholders. Some of them will be internal, but many will be external and potential new business for you.
Managing how they feel about you through PR maximises positive engagement with your brand and therefore the opportunity to convert the ‘warm fuzzy feeling’ about it into new sales.
PR content can be evergreen
Content created as part of a PR campaign is always informative about you and what you do, so, whether it’s a news article or a feature about an initiative you’re doing, it will still be useful ‘evergreen’ content on your website afterwards and help bring web searchers to your site.
Want to know how PR can help your company? Get in touch to arrange a Zoom call to discuss your business goals and how PR could help you achieve them.